Contemporary Psychology, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2020, 81-107

Original scientific paper

The Intellectual Status of Blind and Partially Sighted Children in Croatia Assessed by WISC-IV During Educational and Vocational Guidance: Basic Findings and Relevant Factors

Ida Poljan - Resource Center for Education and Rehabilitation of Persons with Visual Impairment Vinko Bek, Kušlanova 59, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Mislav Stjepan Žebec - Faculty of Croatian Studies, University of Zagreb, Borongajska 83d, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Lucija Manzoni - RH Rosclar, Ático, Carrer de Muntaner 239, 08021 Barcelona, Spain

Fulltext (english, pages 81-107).pdf

The intellectual status of blind and partially sighted children in Croatia has not been systematically researched for almost three decades, despite the change in assessment instruments and institutional support forms. The aim of the research was twofold: (1) to elucidate how developmental, health, and social support factors determine the choice of WISC-IV for intellectual assessment of this population in educational/vocational guidance, (2) to analyze basic findings of the conducted assessments at each WISC-IV subtest. The study was conducted on 102 blind and partially sighted children (51 girls, 34 blind) aged 12 to 16, as part of the regular assessment at Center Vinko Bek. Partially sighted and blind with residual functional vision were tested by all subtests, while the rest of the blind participants were tested only by verbal comprehension (VC) and working memory (WM) subtests. The favorable ratio of blind and partially sighted participants, the fact that the blind with residual functional vision manage to solve all subtests, and mostly quality social support suggest the use of WISC-IV for intellectual assessment of this population. Unfavorable circumstances are the dominant presence of visual impairment from birth, additional health difficulties and late professional help. In the VC subtests both groups show significantly lower values than the norms with moderate deviation (the weakest performance on the Comprehension subtest), while on the WM subtests they achieve a result equal (Digit Span) or moderately lower than the norms (Letter-Number Sequencing). In perceptual reasoning and processing speed subtests the blind show significantly lower while the partially sighted moderately lower scores than the norm. Only the performance of the partially sighted in the Block Design subtest statistically equals that of the sighted population. The findings are interpreted in the context of previous research and developmental, health and social support specifics.

blind and partially sighted children, WISC-IV, developmental and medical specifics, social support

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